Light painting tutorial –

Light painting is a fantastic photography technique…but even better, the snow will be here soon, so be prepared with photography blog.

Painting with light is a fantastic photography technique where you illuminate parts of your scene with a torch or other light, to add emphasis and colour to certain objects during a long exposure.

It is a very cheap and simple photography technique to try out, although it does take a certain amount of forethought and experimentation to get your shots just right. This trial and error is half of the fun though, and you will learn a lot just by playing around.


This example of light painting is just a dancer with finger lights and a long exposure, there are no hard and fast rules with long exposures…start with 1 second increments, 2 seconds, 3 seconds, till you get the result you are happy with. BTW, if your images are still too dark after a 10 second exposure…check your aperture.

To experiment with light painting,you can try any light source that is safe, ranging from simple flashlights to dedicated devices like the Hosemaster, which uses a fiber optic light pen. Other sources of light including candles, matches, fireworks, glowsticks, and Poi are also popular.

A tripod is usually necessary for light painting, due to the long exposure times involved. Alternatively, the camera may be placed on or braced against a table or other solid support. A shutter release cable or self timer is generally employed in order to minimize camera shake. Color Gels can also be used to color the light sources.

Light painting – Illumination technique.

This technique is where the subject is usually still, as opposed to the above dancer…however…you don’t always have to run around like a mad-man, lighting the scene in front of your open lens…quite the reverse actually. You can capture a beautiful…dare i say…romantic image by carefully painting a girls face, hair, texture of clothes with the light source, to create a more subtle image.

light painting tutorial

Or, take your light painting to a new or different level by using video mode on your camera. Set up your subject…say a model, like above…secure your camera on a tripod with lens open and carefully walk around the model, highlighting small parts at a time, instead of the whole area. This way of illuminating your subject gives a more intimate result…add some tasty music to your video and you are in business…great Christmas present for someone. In case you have not tried this before and are wondering why the camera does not “see me”…don’t worry, you will not appear in the photos if you keep moving.

Light painting with streaks.

With this technique of light painting, you CAN run around like a headless chicken with your torch, around rocks, cars…anything, or…you can be more controlled and paint an object.

Use an object with an obvious, easy shape to recognise will help, like a car, motorbike or a guitar would be a great start to your experiments with light painting.

It snow joke walking about at night with your camera.

But when the snow comes…light painting takes on a WHOLE NEW look, creating some fantastic images.

Few things to remember when you are shooting in the snow.


Cold weather will completely drain your batteries very quickly, so have some spare and keep them in your inside jacket pocket.

White Balance.

Check your white balance settings when shooting in snow conditions (daytime). Your auto mode will be no good at all…you may have to look at your custom settings.


Protect your camera and lens by having a cover to hand…a bag to protect your camera is a MUST…last year i was just shooting by a frozen river when my feet hit some ice and my lovely Nikon Prime lens took the full force of my landing…completely smashed the filter, but the lens survived…luckily…good old Nikon.

Lastly…Exposure settings.

Shooting against the harsh lighting conditions of daylight snow will completely confuse your camera…so to compensate…you will have to use your exposure compensation mode and increase by +1 or +2 till you get the right exposure level.

Ohhh and if you come across one of these when your are fiddling with your exposures…keep calm…stand still…and pretend you are a snowman.

And while you are out and about in the snow…don’t forget your “Black and White head” there are some amazing images to be had in mono.

O.k…this next video is really exciting…light painting…in the snow.

So it’s that time again, where you raid the cookie jar- biscuit barrel…make yourself and your mates a coffee and…hide from the BOSS while you watch this vid.

Does everybody watch my blogs at work… hahaha

YouTube Preview Image

Thanks for looking at todays light painting, photography blog and have a great week…G

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